Essential Guide To Buying A Cooker
For those with the space to manage a free-standing cooker, they can be an excellent, cost-effective alternative to separate ovens and hobs – due to combining an oven, grill and hob in just one unit.
But with cookers coming packed with different features and functions, disparities between models and brands happen. But don’t worry – we’re here to help with this guide to buying the best free-standing cooker for your property.
So let’s start with the most divisive factor: cost.
What is the average cost of a cooker?
This is a difficult one to answer as the average price of an oven is often dictated by particular functions. For example, you’ll find cheap gas cookers for approximately £350. However, you’ll be paying closer to £400 if you want an electric oven (complete with a ceramic hob), or a dual-fuel cooker (gas hob plus electric oven).
Things start to get a bit more pricey if you want induction hobs (quick to heat without heating the surrounding area) which can lead to units ranging from £400 to £600 in price – with some models hitting the £1,000 mark. Despite the high cost, this can still prove cheaper than getting an induction hob and a double oven as separate units.
Price does tend to equate how much you can expect from cookers. The least expensive options will look, well, very basic – likely having just a single oven and a storage drawer. But with more pricey models, you’ll be getting flashier features and dishier designs.
With that being said, cost isn’t necessarily a measure of quality. As Shania Twain taught us, a cooker may talk the talk, and be full of features, but can it walk the walk? In some cases, it can’t. Okay, she wasn’t talking about cookers, but you get our point.
Gas vs. Electric
Ah, the eternal battle of the energies: gas or electric? You can ask that question of a number of household appliances and, depending on who you ask, you’ll get a multitude of answers. This can be easily decided by what type of supplies you’ve got coming into your house. Gas cookers are undoubtedly cheaper to run than electric cookers, but your annual energy bill isn’t going to vastly change depending on what you choose. Why is that?
Well, while other appliances may be on for longer periods of time (such as fridges), cookers are on for a relatively short time during the day. Of course, if you’re a bit of a master chef, you will end up with higher energy bills. But if you’re using your cooker once a day, don’t sweat over running costs too much.
However, it is worth considering cookers that have dual-fuel capabilities. A dual-fuel cooker can have an electric oven and a gas hob.
The Right Size
When it comes to cookers, they can come in a variety of sizes and capacities to suit either the property or lifestyle of its owners.
While most free-standing models clock in at 60cm in terms of width, it is possible to find some models that are somewhere between 50-60cms. In terms of height, most cookers will sit at the same level so that they can line up with standard kitchen worktops.
Capacity is also another factor. While manufacturers do state the capacity of their ovens in litres, this isn’t quite an accurate way of measuring how much an oven can actually handle. This is due to the capacity being measured as all space within a cooker’s main oven – which includes space not being used, such as the gap under the lowest shelf.
Installation and Running Costs
Cost goes beyond just the initial outlay of buying your free-standing cooker – you’ll also have to deal with the cost of installation and energy used.
Installation prices can vary, depending on local rates, but make sure to check around and get free quotes from reputable cooker installers in order to compare the different rates being offered. At Repair Aid, we offer our excellent, competitively-priced cooker installation service across the whole of London.
When it comes to running prices, most cookers will add somewhere between £30 to 35 to your annual energy bill. On the low-end of the scale, it is possible to find all-gas models that can cost just £14 a year to run. In contrast, some particularly inefficient electric ovens can end up working out at close to £90 per year.
For those with a big family, the average cost of an electric cooker will likely be somewhere in the region of £45 per year.
What Features Should You Look Out For?
A big part of what makes certain cookers more appealing over others is the sheer variety of features and functions that they can offer end users. So what are the top features that most people look out for when buying a new oven? Let’s walk through five of the most popular ones:
1. Self-cleaning function
What could be more appealing in a brand new oven than the ability for it to clean itself? Don’t worry, this one doesn’t involve robots or fantastically temperamental technology – it’s actually simple, safe and reliable. This process often involves stains and food residue being burned away by a high temperature cleaning cycle. While other methods are available, two of the most common that we see are catalytic and pyrolytic self-cleaning processes.
2. Automatic Ignition
This is when a gas hob burner is automatically ignited when the relevant knob is pushed and set to a particular gas level. This isn’t just more convenient for most of us, but very helpful to people who have limited hand mobility and ability. Traditional cookers tend to have a separate button for ignition, requiring the use of two hands simultaneously. So automatic ignition takes the work out of this process.
3. Advanced Controls
With touch controls easier to operate than those provided by older cooker models, this has become a popular feature across all generations. Not only are they fancier to look at, they are also far easier to clean as debris can’t get trapped under them. More than that, they also offer really helpful extras – such as a child-lock.
Rather self-explanatory, but timers can allow for food to be cooked to perfection far more than the ‘guess-timations’ that many of us seem to make. Why take the risk when you can set your timer and end up with food that isn’t underdone or overdone? Thankfully, this feature is a relatively low-cost upgrade.
5. Flame Supervision Devices (FSD)
It’s worth making sure that your gas cooker of choice has this option as it can be a literal lifesaver. If there’s a malfunction with a burner, and it fails to ignite the gas, this feature will shut down the gas supply to ensure that your kitchen doesn’t end up flooded with gas.
So there you have it – these are the essential things you need to know about buying a cooker. Always make sure to ask questions, don’t always be led by price and you’ll surely end up with the right oven for your household.